Czech government to follow China on Tibet issue


(, May01, 2014) Czech Foreign Minister Mr Lubomír Zaorálek and his Chinese counterpart Mr Wang Yi on Apr 29 signed a joint statement in Beijing, calling Tibet an inseparable part of China and stating the Czech Republic does not support the occupied Himalayan territory’s independence in any form, reported Apr 29. And China’s official Xinhua news agency Apr 30 cited Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang as saying that the Czech Republic’s joint statement commitment will play an important role in the development of bilateral relations.

The joint statement (or press communiqué, the term used by Xinhua) did not appear to contain any discernible input from the Czech side as it was a verbatim reiteration of China’s standard line on Tibet and related issues, including on human rights. It said both countries assured one another that they will not interfere in the other state’s internal affairs and they supported human rights protection. The joint statement further said, “The Czech Republic respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of China, it is fully aware of the importance and sensitivity of the Tibet issue.”

In fact, the joint statement was overly obsessive in its references to the Tibet issue, apparently in view of the late Czech President Vaclav Havel’s close friendship with Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who is falsely vilified by China as a separatist. The statement was quoted as saying, “The Czech Republic has again confirmed that it sticks to its policy of one China and that Tibet is an inseparable part of Chinese territory.

“In this connection, the Czech Republic does not support the independence of Tibet in any form.”

The report noted that the Tibet issue had provoked a debate in the Czech Republic before Zaorálek’s (Social Democrats, CSSD) visit to China, where he arrived on Apr 28. The opposition accused the left-centre coalition government of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (ČSSD) of having traded the defense of human rights in China for its money.

After obtaining unqualified support on the Tibet issue, Wang has said Zaorálek’s visit, the first official one by a Czech foreign minister since 1999, symbolized the entry of Czech-Chinese relations into a new stage.

Earlier, when Prime Minister Sobotka told the press after a cabinet meeting on Apr 24 about his government’s intention to sign such a joined statement with China, the opposition TOP 09 chairman and former foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg accused him of having traded the protection of human rights for money. This referred to the fact that Sobotka said his government wanted to boost Chinese investments in the country. CTK news agency Apr 24 had further quoted Sobtka as telling reporters, “We are a country dependent on the export of our goods and services. And it is immensely important to secure further new markets for our products.”

The joint statement, which did not refer to any concrete deal, expressed the two sides’ desire to increase bilateral investments and encourage further growth of trade. They decided to call on their firms to invest in the other country, and to make efforts to create favorable conditions for bilateral cooperation. Zaorálek specially mentioned Czech interest in the building of a Chinese technological park in the Moravia-Silesia Region, the report added.


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